3A/B (+2C) - Offering Some Ideas for Others - What Has Worked for Me

CurlyJennyDCurlyJennyD Posts: 25Registered Users, Curl Ambassador Curl Novice
I think that most of us who are trying to embrace her/his curls experience endless amounts of frustration in trying to figure out what works and eliminate what doesn't.  How can there be so many possible permutations of products and routines?  How can there be so many differences between curlies?  My experience has been that there just are (too many permutations and too many differences between curly hair)!  

I write this thread to offer some tips on what seems to be working for my hair type in the hopes that it may help others who have similar hair (and may spark ideas for those with a different curl type).  I also hope that the kind experts on here who have helped me endlessly by responding with ideas to my constantly exasperated posts will chime in if they have additional ideas that may work. 

MY HAIR TYPE:  3B curls (mainly) with some 2C waves and 3A pieces.  Also now finding some 3C in there.  Low porosity.  High density (meaning lots of hairs per follicle).  Medium texture (mainly)  (some finer texture pieces around face).  Graying (especially around the front and temples).  

MY MAIN MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT MY HAIR TYPE:  I always thought that my hair was coarse texture, very "strong" and "tough", and extremely dry and frizzy.  It turns out that when properly moisturized and silicone-free, it is actually much more delicate than I ever realized.  What I thought was coarse-textured was just improperly-cared-for and lacking in moisture.  Those "coarse, strong" areas now are "medium, delicate" areas and what previously was a "medium" area now is a "fine and extremely delicate" area.  That has been eye-opening.    

MY MAIN HAIR ISSUES:  1.) frizzy around the crown; 2.) takes an incredible amount of time to dry (low porosity);  3.) difficult to keep moisturized (low porosity)

TRANSITION ISSUES:  Used to do keratin treatments (meaning those salon treatments where they put some formaldehyde on your hair and flat iron it.  It smokes when they do this!).  Used to color.  After growing out and cutting off the colored/keratin-treated hair, I succumbed to home flat ironing.  (I did this after I was told by a Deva-certified hair stylist that I would "have to choose between curly hair or an active lifestyle.  You cannot have both."  Don't fall for that bunk.)  Home flat-ironing does more damage to the curl pattern than you may realize. 

1.)  Olaplex -- this is a pretty darn expensive hair repair product.  My curl pattern was extremely wonky (due to flat ironing, I believe).  It would curl from the root for 1-2 inches, then it would change direction entirely, then it would be almost-stick straight for a few inches, then it would curl in another direction, then it would fizzle out to stringy towards the tips.  I purchased a one-time-use Olaplex kit that contained Olaplex 1, Olaplex 2, and Olaplex 3.  You can do this all at home.  There are many youTube videos.  Main thing is that Olaplex 1 and Olaplex 2 must be used together in combination.  (You put Olaplex 1 on for a few minutes, then you add Olaplex 2).  Olaplex 3 can be used by itself weeks after doing the 1&2 treatment.  My hair benefited so greatly from 1&2, that I have yet to do 3.   Although this was not a complete miracle, it was pretty close.  :-)  It restored the curl pattern for the first 75% of my hair (meaning the length from root to 75% down the shaft).  I believe that the bottom 25% was beyond repair (see the formaldehyde treatments above). 

2.)  Haircut -- I got the bottom 25% cut off (by another Deva-certified hair stylist.  Another bad experience, but it did solve the problem of removing the very damaged parts.)

3).  Much simplified hair routine -- I was trying every product under the sun in every combination imaginable and constantly writing exasperated posts on this forum looking for help.  Now, it's somewhat simple:
A.  Rinse hair under shower head for 60 full seconds.  Let the water sit on hair (while washing body).  Then, rinse hair again under shower head for 30 full seconds.  If using CG products, this seems to remove almost all product (e.g., seems to really help reduce product build-up, especially for low porosity hair).

B.  Co-wash with Deva No-Poo Decadence -- I find that the Decadence line works better than the Original line for my hair type.

C.  Detangle with Deva One Condition Decadence.  Again, the Decadence line is a huge difference for me over the Original line.  DO NOT RINSE UNDER SHOWER HEAD.  :-)  I have a large plastic cup in the shower.  I fill the plastic cup twice and pour it over my ends only (from bottom of ears down).  That is, I do not rinse the crown of my head at all.  Not rinsing under the shower head has completed eliminated what I thought was "coarse" textured hair.  This also helps considerably with frizz at the roots.  

D.  Leave-In Conditioner -- apply small amount of leave-in conditioner on sopping wet hair and rake it through hair with fingers.  I'm using Obia Natural Curl Moisture Cream.  I make sure to get it all over the roots (as this is my frizziest area) and apply it all the way to the ends.  Previously I thought that raking was separating my curl pattern and so I was using "praying hands" to apply it.  This was causing my hair to clump in oddly frizzy patches.  My take is that the product was not being distributed evenly with this approach.  I have learned that raking on sopping wet hair does no disturb my curl pattern if I do the below.  

E.  Apply Gel or Curl Creme -- apply medium amount of gel OR curl cream (not both!) on sopping wet hair and rake through with fingers.  See above on raking versus praying hands.  (See Thoughts on Gel below).  I'm using either Deva Light Defining Gel (for gel) or Obia Naturals Curl Defining Custard (for curl cream).  I think I'm getting better results with the gel, but either gives me fine results.  

F.  Scrunch with PAPER TOWELS! - I own expensive microfiber towels in all varieties.  I own plenty of old t-shirts.  Without a doubt I get the very best results by scrunching with paper towels.  This seems to pull out the moisture but not pull out the product.  I find the physics of this to be weird, but absolutely I'm getting the best results this way.  No frizz!  I just let the paper towels dry and reuse them again and again.  

G.  Plop in a LINGERIE BAG! -- Ha!  My newly-discovered, much-more-delicate hair needs to be lifted up and cupped while it dries.  This makes for the best curl definition.  If it's not cupped while drying, it dries more like a 2C wavy (which is fine) but doesn't hold its shape for as many days post washing.  If it's cupped while drying, I get springy curls.  Some folks have an ability to cup with a diffuser while drying.  Not only am I not able to manipulate my dryer and diffuser to "cup", I also hate diffusing (I'm lazy).  If I plop in a t-shirt, my hair never dries (one big issue with my hair type).  Also, I have a very tiny forehead -- very little distance between my eyebrows and my hairline -- especially on the sides.  If I plop in the traditional way, the hair around my temples gets smushed flat and dries *very oddly*.  This always has been a problem for me with plopping.  No matter how I tie the plopping device (t-shirt or whatever), it ends up smushing the hair around my temples and face.  Many people plop in a hair net (thank you for all of those wonderful people who make youTube videos giving ideas).  The hair net plopping allows my hair to dry, which is a huge advantage over the t-shirt plopping.  However, I still get the smushed flat hair around my temples and face.  It's not a good look!  My eyes saw the lingerie bag that I wash my bras in.  :-)  It's one of those white bags with a zipper opening.  It's rectanglar in shape.  If I plop in that bag, it does not constrict the hair around my temples and face.  I keep it on my head by using an alligator clip to close it.  This has been a huge breakthrough.  Since the bag is rather long, I've tied a knot at the bottom of the bag to reduce the "plopping area", this gives me a closer cup.    

THOUGHTS ON GEL:  I've always detested gel.  It has made my hair sticky, frizzy, and knotted up.  I was advised to switch from [every other gel on the planet] to Deva Light Defining Gel.  What a difference that has made!  I cannot use Deva Ultra Defining Gel, as it makes my hair sticky, frizzy, knotted.  But the Light Defining formula works a dream.  If you're struggling with gel, know that they seem to work differently for different curlies.  

No FULL PONY TAIL:  I have a very active lifestyle.  I have to wear a helmet (for horse riding).  Previously I would gather my hair into a low pony tail for most everything in my life.  However, this new routine has revealed some very robust 3C ringlets at the nape of my neck.  If I gather that hair into the pony tail, it causes endless tangles and frizz.  I now make a pony tail out of all of my hair except the very curly hair at the nape of my neck.  Segregating my hair in this way seems to make all the difference.  When I release the pony tail and shake my hair out, the top layers are fine.  They are not tangled with the nape layer.  Also the nape layer retains its curls.  Previously, when the nape layer was made to be part of the pony tail, it would become frizzy and tangled with the rest of my hair.  An added bonus is that I think it also looks much nicer.  Pulling the rest of the hair back, reveals these beautiful curls at the nape.  Win-win.  

Okay, I think that's the bulk of it.  In the end, it's the same advice given by everyone else.  However, it took me ages of frustration to get here.  I sincerely hope that some of these ideas help someone else!



  • Guide 65Guide 65 Posts: 1,984Registered Users, Moderators Curl Virtuoso
    Thanks so much for sharing your tips and tricks!  And the lingerie bag plop is absolutely brilliant!  I'm trying that myself on my next wash day.  I have the same problem with t-shirt plopping and getting smushed flat hair.  But the weight of the water stretches out my curls.  I diffuse partially, but I just hate standing there doing nothing for so long.  Bonus - I have quite a few new lingerie wash bags!
    Formerly known as Janiegirl
    2B/2C, fine hair, low density, mixed porosity, protein loving hair
    Current products:
    Changing up my shampoos because I can't find one I like
    Deva Curl One Condition (original formula)
    Innersense I Create Volume
    Deva Curl Ultra Defining Gel
  • annemietaannemieta Posts: 1Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    Well done! 
  • jeepcurlygurljeepcurlygurl Posts: 20,724Registered Users, Curl Ambassador Curl Virtuoso
    Thanks for your very informative post!  I have the same issue with the curly tangly nape hair. I'm going to try your pony idea of not including that hair in the pony. I also want to try the laundry bag for plopping. I'm going to look for one with a drawstring instead of a zipper, which might be easier to get to stay on my head. A fun new thing to experiment with! : )
    --I'm located in Western PA.   --I found NC in late 2004, CG since February 2005, joined the forums in May 2005, started going grey in late 2005.   --My hair is 3B with some 3A, currently at mid back length when dry,  texture-medium/fine, porosity-top is low, middle is medium, ends are porous, elasticity-normal.   --My long time favorite products are Suave & VO5 conditioners, LA Looks Sport Gel, coconut oil, honey, vinegar.   
    --My CG and grey hair progress -  
    --My article at NaturallyCurly about going grey - 
  • BrittanyMBrittanyM Posts: 1,217Registered Users Curl Virtuoso
    Thanks for sharing! Do you style upright or upside down? You may have answered this already, but I don't remember. What do you do for volume? I'm the opposite with conditioner as I only rinse from my roots.
  • GretchenGretchen Administrator Posts: 10,840Moderators Curl Virtuoso
    Wow!  Thanks for the super-helpful post!  
    I too have the super-curly nape hair... I don't put it in a pony either, cuz it's too short. It doesn't grow. 

    Love the lingerie bag plop trick! Might have to get an article written up on that! 

    NaturallyCurly.com co-founder

    You are beautiful!
  • tinksaysbootinksaysboo Posts: 543Registered Users, Curl Ambassador Curl Virtuoso
    Love this post!

    It's crazy how healthy hair makes a huge difference to your hair's general structure!    I went through a similar thing with the assumption on hair thickness.  I always thought I a head full of lots of thick hair strands sprinkled with course. (I'm multiracial so it made sense to me).  8 months of CGM my hair is clearly more fine than anything and it's low - medium density, definitely not high density as I assumed.  
    2c/3a | low porosity | fine/medium | low/medium density| protein,coconut, and green tea sensitive | Modified CGM

    Low-Poo:  Jessicurl Hair Cleansing Cream
    Sulfate Wash: Aveda Rosemary Mint Purifying Shampoo
    Rinse Out Conditioner: DevalCurl One Condition
    Leave-In Conditioner: Curl Junkie Smoothing Lotion
    Deep Conditioner: DevaCurl Heaven In Hair
    Curl Enhancer: Curl Junkie Spiral Lotion
    Gel: Jessicurl Spiralicious Gel
  • KWavyKWavy Posts: 2Registered Users, Curl Ambassador Curl Neophyte
    Hey, CurlyJennyD. Agreed with everyone --- this is great info. I'm following up on Gretchen's, the co-founder, comment above. NaturallyCurly would like to write an article on some of your excellent advice. Would you mind emailing me at [email protected] so I may connect with you? Thank you.
  • LatorettaLatoretta Posts: 1Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    My problem is that after Day 2 the upper part of my hair at the crown seems to frizz even if I do a pineapple at night.  I sleep on a silk pillowcase, but I lose the beauty of my ringlet overnight - and by Day 3 it ends up being a frizz ball - and Another issue I have is with length I'm always asked if I had cut my hair.  It, the curl can be a good 3" longer than my finished 'do'.  How do I stretch it some?
  • Guide 65Guide 65 Posts: 1,984Registered Users, Moderators Curl Virtuoso
    @Latoretta, maybe you can do a little re-moisturizing at night before pineappling.  I would dampen the hair where you have problems with a little water/conditioner mix, like a mini-refresh.  That might prevent your hair from drying out overnight.  I don't know about stretching it - my weak waves don't have much spring at all.
    Formerly known as Janiegirl
    2B/2C, fine hair, low density, mixed porosity, protein loving hair
    Current products:
    Changing up my shampoos because I can't find one I like
    Deva Curl One Condition (original formula)
    Innersense I Create Volume
    Deva Curl Ultra Defining Gel

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